West Virginia Legislators Seeks to Further Empower Coal Companies and Hurt Landowners

West Virginia Legislators Seeks to Further Empower Coal Companies and Hurt Landowners

Several blogs on this page have talked about the limits that landowners run into when trying to get reasonable compensation or repairs for their property when affected by mine subsidence. While the West Virginia Supreme Court recently issued rulings which seem to provide even more protections to coal operators there was one glimmer of hope for individual landowners. West Virginia mining laws provide limited protections to landowners, but one such law was recently interpreted to make clear that it is the landowner that gets to decide whether the coal company will actual fix their home or merely pay them the decrease in value caused by the mining damage. The actual repairs are most often much more expensive than the decrease in value. Lobbyists for the coal industry have succeeded in getting members of our legislature to seek changes to the law giving that right to decide between fixing and/or paying a decreased value claim back to the coal companies. Hidden amongst a bill supposedly related to “Coal Mine Safety” is a provision that seeks to change what the WVSCA stated last year. The House version of the bill, HB 2875, seems to be stalled in committee, but there is rumor that the WV Senate may be presenting a similar bill before the deadline to submit bills runs.

Most people find it unbelievable that a deed from over 100 years ago can include coal mining damage waivers that would still be enforced today. People have bought and built their dream homes only to have the ground literally ripped out from underneath of them. With all the protections the coal companies have, allowing a landowner to decide that they want their home fixed should not be on attack from our elected officials. Given the immense value the coal company gets from selling the coal under someone’s house, they should not be asking for more power to deprive those homeowners from recourse or repair.


Today's blog: Attention landowners! Are you up to speed on your rights within West Virginia mining laws? Jeremy McGraw is one of our experts on the subject and shares some things you should know on the blog today.